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ISDN picks up steam in RBOCs' rollout plans.

Now that the dust has settled from TRIP 92's celebration of ISDN connectivity, and with a new year just underway, it's a good time to take a reading on ISDN.

There's a feeling about the ISDN rollout that takes you back to when you were a kid and your dad built you a tree house. You knew he'd finish it, and you could watch him putting it together board by board by board. But gosh, it seemed to take forever before you could play in it.

For 1993, the telcos are building quite a few more ISDN tree houses. If one of them doesn't happen to be in your tree (make that your central office), then you won't be allowed to play just yet. But if you've learned anything from ISDN, it's that you must be patient.

Where ISDN is going this year and how "rolled out" it will be depends on where you do business.

If you are in Bell Atlantic, Pacific Bell, US West or Ameritech territory, there's a better than even chance that ISDN will be available to you this year (see the accompanying chart). Those companies' targets for ISDN availability range from 58% to 51% of their access lines.

If you are in BellSouth, Nynex or Southwestern Bell territory, your chances of taking advantage of ISDN get considerably slimmer. Their targets for availability range from 41% to 19% of access lines. The overall RBOC ISDN coverage across the nation is 44%.

These estimates are drawn from figures that the telcos submitted to Bellcore in mid-1992.

For 1994, the picture gets a little more optimistic as percentages of ISDN coverage grow. The chances of ISDN knocking on your door will improve significantly. Overall coverage is expected to be 57% and the RBOC "standings" remain about the same.

We had to wonder why Southwestern Bell and Nynex lag behind their fellow RBOCs, so we asked them.

"I'm not embarrassed by the numbers," says Jim Carpenter, assistant vice president for planning and engineering for Southwestern Bell. "What we have chosen to do is to position ourselves to deploy very rapidly, as opposed to beginning a rampup of deployment.

"Our deployment plan is based on using remote terminals with extensive fiber-optic ring structures that we are putting into place in metropolitan areas. We can put in ISDN capability a matter of weeks with that architecture.

"We think we can then respond in a more focused way when demand pops up in an area, with less investment sitting around waiting for demand to develop."

Phil Bruno, staff director of ISDN market planning for the Nynex companies, says the numbers they gave to Bellcore last June are no longer accurate, and Nynex is accelerating the ISDN rollout.

"Our situation has changed radically as far as deployment plans," says Bruno. "The two operating companies (New York and New England Telephone) have drastically stepped up their plans for deployment."

By the end of this year, there will be 68 ISDN-capable switches in New York Telephone territory and 67 in New England. That will rise to 107 in New York and 111 in New England by the end of 1994, and 175 and 111 by the end of 1995. That 1995 figure represents about 70% ISDN coverage for the Nynex territory.

In Manhattan, he says there will be full ISDN coverage by the end of this year. He notes that as long as one central office has an ISDN switch in a building that may house several COs, any customer needing ISDN can be served out of that switch.

Now, Bruno says, "with the commitment we have made to deploying ISDN, we hope our friends in the CPE (customer premise equipment) community will make more, and cheaper, equipment."
COPYRIGHT 1993 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Integrated services digital network; Regional Bell Operating Companies
Author:Tanzillo, Kevin
Publication:Communications News
Article Type:Column
Date:Feb 1, 1993
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